What’s So Queer About Morality?

The Journal of Ethics 24 (1):11-29 (2020)
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Mackie famously argued for a moral error theory on the basis that objective moral values, if they existed, would be very queer entities. Unfortunately, his argument is very brief and it is not totally obvious from what he says exactly where the queerness of moral values is supposed to lie. In this paper I will firstly show why a typical interpretation of Mackie is problematic and secondly offer a new interpretation. I will argue that, whether or not we have reason to live in the morally correct way, what seems queer about moral properties is that there is a morally correct way in which to live in the first place. This interpretation makes sense of Mackie’s claim that theism might be able to solve the queerness problem; the notion of an objectively correct way to live may make sense if theism is true, but not otherwise.



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Luke Taylor
Texas State University

References found in this work

Slaves of the passions.Mark Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.
The Myth of Morality.Richard Joyce - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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